Originally published on Mon August 26, 2013 1:01 pm
"Snake Oil Salesman." The phrase conjures up images of seedy profiteers trying to exploit an unsuspecting public by selling it fake cures. In fact, the Oxford English Dictionary defines snake oil as "a quack remedy or panacea." What the OED does not note, however, is that the history of snake oil is linked to an often forgotten chapter of Asian-American history.
Patina Miller first got noticed on the theater scene in 2009 as the star of Sister Act: A Divine Musical Comedy. She earned rave reviews for playing the accidental nun who led a choir to stardom. Now she's center stage again in the Broadway revival of Pippin, the musical first launched in 1972. Miller takes on the role of Leading Player, the circus artist who guides a young prince in finding meaning and magic in his life. She won this year's Tony Award for best leading actress in a musical. You can also hear her on the newly released CD of the show's songs.
The nation is marking the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington this week. Tens of thousands traced the path of civil rights leaders and foot soldiers in the nation's capital this weekend. On Wednesday, President Obama will speak from the Lincoln Memorial, just as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other speakers did back in 1963. Tell Me More reflects on the role political activism played and is continuing to play in the civil rights movement.